My MPR colleague Mike Caputo is inviting MinnEcon readers to drop in at 2 p.m. today to talk budget choices and challenges facing Minnesota's small towns.
You can read it and jump in right here in the box below.( UPDATE: The discussion's over but you can find it archived below.)
Look at the news over the past few days and you can see the examples of budget struggles in Winona and Willmar and Sherburn. The League of Minnesota Cities reports that there appears to be more than 4,000 "budget-balancing actions" being made or being considered in the 427 cities of Minnesota.
We've been looking from time to time at how these small communities make due in tough economic times.
Today we're going to pursue another way of getting at this issue. MPR News will host an Online Forum right here at MinnEcon. We have invited three city leaders and an expert on city issues to participate in a discussion beginning at 2 p.m. today:
· Jim Weygand - mayor of the city of Carver
· Rod Otterness - administrator for the city of International Falls
· Mark Sather - manager for the city of White Bear Lake
· Jim Miller, executive director for the League of Minnesota Cities
What we want to know is what people who monitor these city budgets are going through? How are they making these tough decisions?
Perhaps more importantly, how are city leaders trying to involve the public in understanding the reasons behind cuts being made or taxes being raised?
This online forum is a place for you to add your questions or comments. So plan to join us at 2 p.m. today.
If you can't make the forum, drop us a line and tell us about a novel approach cities, towns and counties are taking to make ends meet without cutting services too much.
We'll remember the Great Recession for the way it reached into Minnesota's middle-income homes and put many professionals out of work for the first time.
We've talked to scores of people in MPR's Public Insight Network who hoped a college degree and knowledge-based economy would insulate them from the downturn. It didn't.
So how's the recession treating your chosen work?
We got creative, heartfelt responses that we've posted and shared with our public media friends across the country at economystory.org.
We'll do the same with your six-word entries on the recession and your profession.
Here are some posted already at economystory.org:
"Lost two jobs gained an LLC"
"Take work when you're offered it."
"Adjust to reality, give up dreams."
Here are my six words: Journalism reaper. Step ahead. So far.
That pretty much sums up my professional life the past two years -- happy and lucky to have a job writing and reporting and hoping it stays that way.
How about you? What words best describe what's happened to your career in this recession? Unemployed? New entrepreneur? Back to school to retrain?
NOTE: Our efforts were inspired by SMITH Magazine's ongoing Six-Word Memoir project.